Ville Platte head coach Ched Fontenot talks strategy to Vonn Leday (4) and Gavin Patin during the District 7 Tournament. (Gazette photo by Yvette Jagneaux)
Ville Platte Minor All-Stars secure district runner-up
VILLE PLATTE -- Despite being as young as they are, the Ville Platte Minor All-Stars came out and showed flashes of being a veteran team here this past weekend in the Dixie Youth District 7 Tournament.
Unfortunately, the group of youngsters fell just short in their bid for the championship, as they dropped a 6-3 decision to Oakdale in the title game Monday afternoon. Even with the loss, Ville Platte qualifies for the regional tournament to be held in Vidalia a week from today.
“Overall, this was a great outing for us,” stated head coach Ched Fontenot. “I am super proud of this team and the effort they put out this entire weekend. They came out and battled through five tough games in the heat and played hard. Our goal from the beginning was to make it out of district and get to regionals. We played a very tough team in Oakdale for the finals, and it gave our guys some good experience.”
After picking up two wins in their first two outings of the tournament against Sulphur National on Thursday and Sulphur Continental on Friday, Ville Platte had to face the eventual district champion Oakdale on Saturday with a chance to remain the only undefeated team in the tournament.
Ville Platte jumped out on top of the Allen Parish club, scoring one run in the first and three runs in the third inning. Ellis Fusilier came across the plate in the first inning, while Ashton Duos, Kolton Lafleur and Seth Guillory all touched home in the second inning.
Neither team was able to pick up a run in the third inning. Oakdale secured a single run in the top of the fourth to cut the advantage down to three and then proceeded to add two more runs in the top of the fifth to make it a 4-3 game.
Ville Platte tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth when Elliot Fontenot singled and scored. However, Oakdale found a way to put up four runs in the top of the sixth, taking a two run advantage.
Ville Platte tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the sixth, scoring one run, but were shutdown with runners at second and third with two outs to give Oakdale a 7-6 win.
Dropping down to the loser’s bracket, Ville Platte faced a do or die situation against Vinton. Even though elimination loomed with a loss, the All-Stars came through in a big way, collecting 10 hits in a 15-1 run-rule blowout of Vinton.
Ville Platte plated four runs in the bottom of the first and added five more runs in the bottom of the second inning. The All-Stars out shined themselves in the third inning, picking up six more runs, grabbing the victory. Gavin Patin led the way, going 2 for 2 with a run scored.
With that win and an Oakdale victory over Sulphur Continental, the two teams faced off once again on Monday, with Ville Platte having to beat Oakdale twice to grab hold of the title.
After a scoreless first inning, Oakdale picked up three runs in the top of the second inning and two runs in the top of the third inning to jump out on top 5-0.
Ville Platte answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third to cut into the Oakdale lead. Guillory led things off with a free trip to first base when he was hit by a pitch. Rylan Soileau and Fusilier each singled in back-to-back at bats, helping to bring Guillory home.
Fontenot singled home Soileau and Fusilier to put the score at 5-3. After that, the Oakdale pitching staff stopped the Ville Platte offensive momentum and held the All-Stars at bay.
Oakdale scored the final run of the game in the top of the sixth and then shut down Ville Platte in their last at bat to secure the win.
“Every aspect of the game was just as good as the others,” said Fontenot. “My assistant coaches, Lance Chapman and Joffre Fusilier are very pleased with the progress we have made so far. Heading into regionals we are going to have to work on every phase of the game, especially bunting and just mentally being engaged in the game. It is a lot of pressure for nine and ten-year olds.”